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The Reason I Jump

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"A unique account of autistic spectrum disorder from the inside, giving voice to a community frequently described as 'non-speaking' and dispelling multiple misconceptions about the way they see and feel the world around them."
— Variety

The publishing phenomenon The Reason I Jump was written by a non-speaking autistic Japanese boy, Naoki Higashida. Translated into English by acclaimed novelist David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas), the book has become a worldwide bestseller and has been since translated into over 30 languages, and offers remarkable insight into the thoughts and feelings of an autistic person who cannot talk; a Rosetta stone that allows us to hear Naoki’s experiences of what it’s like to be autistic.

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Jerry Rothwell, this feature documentary is a cinematic translation of the experiences revealed in the book that blends the insights into autism provided by Naoki’s writing, immersing us into the lives of non-speaking autistics from around the world. It dramatically gives voices to their frustrations and challenges, and also opens a window into in their unique sensory worlds, full of intensity, richness, and beauty.

Director: Jerry Rothwell

Runtime: 84 minutes

Genre: Adaptation, Documentary, POC

Year: 2020

Country: United States/United Kingdom

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Shadow in the Cloud

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"Hardly a minute of the movie registers as “realistic,” but that hardly matters, since director Roseanne Liang so fully commits to its over-the-top sensibility that you’ll be clutching the armrest and grinning with glee for most of the ride."
— Variety

In the throes of World War II, Captain Maude Garrett (Chloë Grace Moretz) joins the all-male crew of a B-17 bomber with a top-secret package. Caught off guard by the presence of a woman on a military flight, the crew tests Maude’s every move. Just as her quick wit is winning them over, strange happenings and holes in her backstory incite paranoia surrounding her true mission. But this crew has more to fear…lurking in the shadows, something sinister is tearing at the heart of the plane. Trapped between an oncoming air ambush and an evil lurking within, Maude must push beyond her limits to save the hapless crew and protect her mysterious cargo.

Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Beulah Koale

Director: Roseanne Liang

Rating: Rated R

Runtime: 83 minutes

Genre: Action, Drama, Horror, Woman Directed

Year: 2020

Country: New Zealand/United States

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Some Kind of Heaven

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"This highly entertaining documentary captures the near-surrealism of a prefab senior playground, while also finding some poignant human interest in focusing on a few personalities for whom the concept isn’t quite working."
— Variety

Some Kind of Heaven explores life inside the palm-tree-lined streets of The Villages, America’s largest retirement community in Florida. Referred to as the “Disneyland for Retirees,” this planned community is home to over 130,000 seniors. It offers residents a utopian version of the American yesteryear: wide, safe streets, perfectly manicured lawns, and countless activities all in service of enjoying their golden years. While most residents have bought into its packaged positivity, we meet four residents living on the margins, striving to find happiness.

By turns biting, tender, and surreal, the film demonstrates that no matter our age, we are always becoming. With strikingly composed cinematography, Some Kind of Heaven challenges our stereotypes around aging, emboldening its characters to live as vibrantly as possible in the time they have left.

Director: Lance Oppenheim

Runtime: 83 minutes

Genre: Documentary

Year: 2020

Country: United States

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"A deceptively breezy retrospective on Mass MoCA's unlikely success; it illuminates how and to what extent art and cultural institutions can help revive communities under duress."
— Hyperallergic

Museum Town tells the story of a unique museum, the small town it calls home, and the great risk, hope, and power of art to transform a desolate post-industrial city.

In 2017, MASS MoCA became the largest museum for contemporary art in the world—but just three decades before, its vast brick buildings were the abandoned relics of a massive shuttered factory. How did such a wildly improbable transformation come to be? A testament to tenacity and imagination, Museum Town traces the remarkable story of how a rural Massachusetts town went from economic collapse to art mecca.

Threaded with interviews of a diverse cast – a tattooed curator, a fabricator, former factory worker, and shopkeepers—the film also looks at the artistic process itself, tracking the work and ideas of celebrated artist Nick Cave as he creates his groundbreaking installation at MASS MoCA, UNTIL.

With appearances by artists ranging from James Turrell to David Byrne, narration by Meryl Streep, and a soundtrack from John Stirratt of Wilco, Museum Town captures the meeting of small-town USA and the global art world as it tells a tale that is, like any great artwork, soulful, thought-provoking and unforgettable.

Featuring: Nick Cave

Director: Jennifer Trainer

Runtime: 75 minutes

Genre: Documentary, Local Connections, Woman Directed

Year: 2019

Country: United States

Tomorrow
Film

Black Bear

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"Fueled by surprise and layered with an intoxicating dream logic, Black Bear is the kind of discovery you hope for: wholly unexpected, compellingly demanding, and utterly unique. Aubrey Plaza is ferocious at the movie's center."
— Entertainment Weekly

Aubrey Plaza stars in this darkly funny, mind-bending indie. The lives and sentiments of three artists (played by Plaza, Christopher Abbott, and Sarah Gadon) interlock and are pushed to provocative limits in this enthralling drama that rejoices in subverting expectations and exploring the layers of a fragmented world. Writer-director Lawrence Michael Levine lures us into a tense and intrepid tale of gender dynamics and temptation, using the complexity of relationships to detonate the thin line separating art from life.

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbot, Sarah Gadon

Director: Lawrence Michael Levine

Rating: Rated R

Runtime: 104 minutes

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller

Year: 2020

Country: United States

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"A sweet movie filled with charming characters that is the perfect prescription for curing a lousy day."
Screen Zealots

If you love The Great British Baking Show then you will delight in Eliza Schroeder’s bighearted drama where the delicious cakes almost steal the show.

Determined to fulfill her late mother’s dream of opening a bakery in charming Notting Hill, 19-year-old Clarissa enlists the help of her mother’s best friend Isabella and her eccentric estranged grandmother Mimi (played by Celia Imrie, best known stateside as the feisty grandmother on Pamela Adlon’s Better Things). These three generations of women will need to overcome grief, doubts and differences to honor the memory of their beloved Sarah while embarking on a journey to establish a London store filled with love, hope and colorful pastries from all over the world.

Starring: Celia Imrie, Shannon Tarbet, Shelley Conn, Rupert Penry-Jones, Bill Paterson

Director: Eliza Schroeder

Runtime: 98 minutes

Genre: Bechdel Test Approved, Drama, Woman Directed

Year: 2020

Country: United Kingdom

This Week
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"A crowd-pleaser reminiscent of ‘Stranger Things,’ ‘The Goonies’ and ‘E.T.,'”
— Variety

Siblings Mimi and Luke unwittingly resurrect an ancient alien overlord who was entombed on Earth millions of years ago after a failed attempt to destroy the universe. They nickname the evil creature Psycho Goreman (or PG for short) and use the magical amulet they discovered to force him to obey their childish whims. It isn’t long before PG’s reappearance draws the attention of intergalactic friends and foes from across the cosmos and a rogues’ gallery of alien combatants converges in small-town suburbia to battle for the fate of the galaxy.

Starring: Nita-Josee Hanna, Matthew Ninaber, Owen Myre

Director: Steven Kostanski

Runtime: 99 minutes

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Doug’s Pick, Science Fiction

Year: 2020

Country: Canada

Next Week
Film

Acasa, My Home

"With an immersive vérité touch, Acasă, My Home vividly captures living on the margins of society––whether it’s actually off the grid or being thrown into a system not of your choosing."
— The Film Stage

In the wilderness of the Bucharest Delta, an abandoned water reservoir just outside the bustling metropolis, the Enache family lived in perfect harmony with nature for two decades, sleeping in a hut on the lakeshore, catching fish barehanded, and following the rhythm of the seasons. When this area is transformed into a public national park, they are forced to leave behind their unconventional life and move to the city, where fishing rods are replaced by smartphones and idle afternoons are now spent in classrooms. As the family struggles to conform to modern civilization and maintain their connection to each other and themselves, they each begin to question their place in the world and what their future might be. With their roots in the wilderness, the nine children and their parents struggle to find a way to keep their family united in the concrete jungle.

Director: Radu Ciorniciuc

Runtime: 76 minutes

Year: 2020

Country: Romania

Language: In Romanian with English subtitles

Coming Soon
Film

A Glitch in the Matrix

"Part sci-fi mind-scrambler, part horror story, this is a digital journey to the limits of radical doubt."
— Sundance Film Festival

What if we are living in a simulation, and the world as we know it is not real? To tackle this mind-bending idea, acclaimed filmmaker Rodney Asher (Room 237, The Nightmare) uses a noted speech from Philip K. Dick to dive down the rabbit hole of science, philosophy, and conspiracy theory. Leaving no stone unturned in exploring the unprovable, the film uses contemporary cultural touchstones like The Matrix, interviews with real people shrouded in digital avatars, and a wide array of voices, expert and amateur alike. If simulation theory is not science fiction but fact, and life is a video game being played by some unknowable entity, then who are we, really? A Glitch in the Matrix attempts to find out.

Director: Rodney Ascher

Runtime: 108 minutes

Genre: Documentary, Doug’s Pick

Year: 2020

Country: United States

Coming Soon
Film

Two of Us

"Young lovers move over — Barbara Sukowa and Martine Chevallier bring to life an unforgettable lesbian couple whose sexual flame still burns brightly and whose mutual devotion is quietly thrilling."
— Screen Daily

Two retired women, Nina and Madeleine, have been secretly in love for decades. Everybody, including Madeleine’s family, thinks they are simply neighbors, sharing the top floor of their building. They come and go between their two apartments, enjoying the affection and pleasures of daily life together, until an unforeseen event turns their relationship upside down and leads Madeleine’s daughter to gradually unravel the truth about them.

Starring: Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier

Director: Filippo Meneghetti

Runtime: 95 minutes

Country: France

Language: In French with English subtitles